The National Drought Monitor notes that only a few tenths of an inch of precipitation last week meant drought conditions either persisted or intensified in the Northern Plains. Meanwhile for the Southern Plains, precip in southeastern Texas, only modest regional improvement was noted.
"D0 expanded westward through portions of southern and central South Dakota while D2 conditions were extended slightly into eastern parts of the state," notes the report. "Many of the D2 areas recorded less than half of normal precipitation during the last 60 days. Since August 1, Sioux Falls, SD received only 3.6 inches of precipitation, the third lowest for the period in roughly 100 years of records."
In its outlook, the monitor says during the next 5 days (February 16 – 20, 2012), moderate to heavy precipitation (1 to locally over 3 inches) is anticipated across a large area from southeastern Texas eastward through the Florida Panhandle and northeastward into southern North Carolina. "Amounts over 0.5 inch are forecast for immediately adjacent sections including central Texas, the northern Florida Peninsula, and southern Virginia, but lesser amounts should fall on the other areas of dryness and drought across the contiguous 48 states," it says. "For the ensuing 5 days, the Climate Prediction Center (CPC) 6-10 day indicated that the odds favor above normal precipitation in much the same area as during the next 5 days. Farther west, subnormal amounts are favored from southern Oregon and northeastern California southeastward through western Texas and southward to the Mexican border."